March 18, 2020 / 3:27 PM / 15 days ago

Vietnam jails two Hmong men for life on charge of trying to overthrow state

HANOI (Reuters) - A court in Vietnam jailed two men from the Hmong ethnic minority for life after finding them guilty on Wednesday of attempting to overthrow the state and set up a state of their own in a northern province, state media reported on Wednesday.

A Voice of Vietnam radio report said Sung A Sinh and Lau A Lenh had attempted to establish their own country in Dien Bien province’s Muong Nhe district in 2018 and 2019, with its own currency and army.

Twelve other people were also sentenced in the case to terms of up to 20 years.

Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate criticism.

The activities of the men “are dangerous to the society, infringing upon the political regime of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” the radio quoted the presiding judge as saying.

Reuters could not reach their lawyers for comment. Calls to the People’s Court of Dien Bien went unanswered.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Peter Graff

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